Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011

My girlfriend is a graphic designer (mostly working with paper magazines and such) but now wants to extend her knowledge and is taking a course for motion graphics at one of Sweden's "best" schools.

The course she's taking will mostly be working in Adobe After Effects but also some work in Illustrator, Photoshop etc but I'm fairly sure that After Effects will be the most cpu-/ram-heavy software.

She was first going to take the class that was for advanced users and was teached at the school itself but later changed to the distance course to get a more thorough education since she just had dipped her toes in motion graphics before.

So I'm wondering a little about how she should proceed with getting a computer that will get the job done.

She has wanted to buy a MacBook Pro ever since she quit her last job and has to return the one she got from that workplace but I've said she should hold off a bit due to Apple maybe doing an update really soon and the issues with the keyboard, throttling but the course starts mid/late October so time is closing in.

Currently her computer is a iMac 2010 (21", base configuration) that I gave her since my parents never really apprichiated that gift even when it was new. This iMac still only has 4 GB RAM, still using an HDD but I wanted to upgrade it for her but she said no because she's afraid I'll break it and she doesn't want to spend the cash for the parts even if I pay half or the cost... though she changed her mind buying some RAM and an SSD after she was accepted into the course and asked me if I could upgrade it for her before it starts but I really feel it might just be too slow and too old for this purpose.

What do you think would be a sufficient mac for a course like this? Please note she's rarely doing actual work from home and is not very interested in freelancing (sadly) but she believes she will play around being more creative if she has a laptop and it's her own etc. She wants her computer to be a MacBook Pro and not an iMac or such but she could probably live with an iMac during this period and wait with buying the MBP if it's totally necessary (she don't need the mobility)

The alternatives I have considered right now and tried explaining to her and give my guidance about are:
- Upgrade iMac (mid 2010, base configuration) with RAM and SSD
- Buying a new MacBook Pro (she doesn't want to spend more than ~ $2000 so she will not get an 15" for that money)
- Buying a used Macbook Pro
- Using my MacBook Pro 15" 2012 (maybe upgrade ram in it in that case as its at 8 GB now)
- Using my MacBook Pro 15" 2015 (though I wouldn't be able to use it
- Buying a newer used iMac for ~$1000 that she can sell for roughly the same amount when done with the course.
- Or I could of course buy an iMac 27" for myself (which I've been thinking about for a while since the MacBook Pro is a bit too expensive and I actually don't use its mobility as much as I used to) but I was actually planning on waiting for the next update or even the redesign if it comes within the next 6-8 months)

So anyone cares to help her out? I've had less time to focusing on macs and computes in general and really never been interested in graphic cards since I'm into making music and whatever I've had has been enough for me but for her I'm worried a 13" Macbook Pro is not going to be powerful enough but really, waiting an extra minute for a render or for effects to be applied isn't really an issue for her if it saves her a couple of hundred dollar.

Thanks for all help you can give her!


macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2019
  1. Buy a second hand dual core 2009 Mac Pro for <$500
  2. flash it to 5,1 if its not already
  3. put in 2x intel X5690 3.46ghz CPU
  4. put in an RX580
  5. install USB-3 &/Or USB-C
  6. put in as much 1333Mhz DDR3 RAM as you can afford
  7. hook up to a cheap monitor with decent colour
total cost so far for me has been less than AUD$2k

best decision ive made in a very long time was buying that old Mac Pro on a hunch i might be able to upgrade it.

I work in photography and motion. This machine is a beast for editing high resolution stills and video images. A MacBook Pro will overheat and throttle like crazy. Yes you can carry it to the park, but if your GF is serious about editing she will know that it is best done in a dark environment so colours are accurate (depending on monitor calibration of course.)

The list above isn't even a complete list of all the upgrade possibilities. you can also install NVMe SSD's on PCI-e cards for read/write speeds of 3500Mbs which allows real time playback when editing video.

hold off buying a new MacBook Pro until they stop chasing thinner/lighter and actually create a proper macbook pro. I'm still using my fully tricked out mid 2010 MBP for location work when i have to.


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
Sorry for late reply. Have been lying in bed being sick..

She actually had to decide a couple of weeks back and decided on an Macbook Pro 15" 2018 and it seems she couldn't be happier. Was a bit expensive but she could easy sell it for $100-$200 tops less than she bought it for.

Sorry for this over complicated thread start. I just was a but stressed out and overwhelmed about all the possible decisions...

But the MacBook Pro 2018 works just fine and handles after effects with ease (at least the current rather simple projects that she works with for now). no keyboard issues yet and she hasn't experienced any heating issues .

Thanks for replying. I actually bought an 2008 Mac Pro two years ago and I had huge issyes with it. Not going to go into details but it was slow and hung a couple of seconds here and there. Tried formating one of the old disks that were inside just to run it as a simple server for a couple of months until I had time and money to upgrade it with more ram, SSD etc but I never got that far becsuse it was crazily slow and I did not want to spend all that cash on the computer if I'd still have issues due to other reasons than low ram and slow disk and since none of the disks I tried as a start-disk worked even okay, so I lost interest in fixing it up and sold it for half the price of what I bought it for and I was instead planning on buying a new or at least newer machine but haven't gotten there yet due to Apple being a bit too expensive / performance but i'll consider the Mac Pro 2009 if I dare to go down that route again.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.